Making the L(IH)EAP: How Federal Funds Get to Michiganders in Need

The federal Low-Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a priority issue for AMP because it helps struggling Michiganders meet their energy needs and stay safe.

But how do LIHEAP funds get from Congress to those who need help most here in Michigan?

A mosaic of programs work together to ensure the most vulnerable Michiganders aren’t left out in the cold.

From Federal Funding to State Agencies and Other Programs

Once Congress determines the level of funding allocated to LIHEAP, federal funds are distributed among the states based on climate, economic, and demographic considerations.

Michigan divides the federal grant into two parts – the Michigan Energy Assistance Program grant (MEAP) and money for state-run programs.

State-run programs are administered by the Michigan Department of Human Services:

MEAP Grant Programs

MEAP grants channel money to local energy providers and charities who provide assistance in a variety of ways, including emergency assistance and rate discounts.

Provider-sponsored Programs

Michigan’s local energy providers offer several ways to offset heating costs and address emergencies; their programs are funded, in part, by LIHEAP funds.  Just as importantly (if not more so), Michigan’s local energy providers help provide energy assistance to low-income Michiganders before they reach an emergency situation.

From discounted rates and shut-off protection for senior citizens and active duty military personnel to direct assistance for low-income households, local energy providers work to ensure that every household can access the power they need.

Additional MEAP-Supported Charities

Many Ways to Meet the Need

Connecting Michiganders in need with the funds to help them keep the heat and lights on is a responsibility that takes coordination and cooperation.  While the need for energy assistance is critical, there are different approaches involved that yield different results—some of which are more cost-efficient than others.

Stay tuned for our next blog post, when we’ll take a look at these different approaches to energy assistance and what they mean for Michiganders in need.